Recovering Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was substituted 41 minutes into his comeback game for Liverpool Under-23s for precautionary reasons, after almost a year on the sidelines.
The England international was making his long-awaited return to action after suffering a serious knee injury in the Champions League semi-final against Roma last April. After being given the all clear to rejoin training with the Liverpool first team a few weeks ago, Oxlade-Chamberlain's playing return had been awaited with much intrigue by Reds fans.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taken off as a precaution. Had felt left hamstring just before substitution.— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) March 8, 2019
The 25-year-old, who cost Liverpool £35m from Arsenal in the summer of 2017, was expected to play at least an hour for Neil Critchley's Under-23s against Derby on Friday. However, he was substituted four minutes from the end of the first half of the tie, which Liverpool won 3-1.
Reports online, including from Times journalist Paul Joyce, indicate that Oxlade-Chamberlain's withdrawal from the game was a precautionary one, with the player feeling his hamstring.
After leaving the game, Goal writer Neil Jones reported that the midfielder posed for photos, signed autographs and 'gave a thumbs up when asked if he was ok'.
Although briefer than many would've liked, there were positives from the comeback cameo. Speaking on LFCTV, via the Liverpool Echo, ex-goalkeeper Chris Kirkland called Oxlade-Chamberlain's display 'class', noting: "He was neat and tidy and made some lovely passes. His first touch was good. He got a good 40 minutes under his belt and that will do him good.
"There was one cross-field pass to Ben Woodburn when he never even looked. He knew where Woodburn was and it was a brilliant pass."
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, first-team manager Jurgen Klopp provided a positive update on fellow absentee Joe Gomez, who has been out with injury since December.
“Joe Gomez is now running with 100% of his weight and that looks good," Klopp said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's meeting with Burnley.
“Most of the problems will be sorted probably after the international break but Dejan [Lovren] we have to see because he’s been out for a while. He is not injured anymore but how fit he is we need to say."